Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Load Up the Camels

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

Seventy-five year old Abram. And lovely Sarai.

 Right smack dab in the middle of a predictable, constant life.

Surrounded by family. Familiarity. The security of knowing.

Called to move.

“…to a land I will show you.”

I try to picture the hub-bub created by Abram’s active obedience to this interesting directive.

Packing up their tents and herding animals and loading camels---destination unknown.

They must have been questioned about their journey? Where were they heading?

What exactly was the plan?

How long would it take to get...Where?

The servants would be curious. The community would be interested. The family would need to know where to forward the mail.

I picture Abram overseeing the massive migration that was his household, fielding the questions and wondering himself.

Did he answer, “God knows.”

Or simply, “I don’t know.”

Or perhaps the spiritually astute, “God will provide.”

Responses that could all most simply be boiled down to, “No clue.”

I wonder how his lack of knowledge was received?

Abram was commanded to 'not know'. But obey.

On more than one very difficult occasion.

Desert travel. Barrenness. Attempted murder.

Many years filled with long seconds and minutes and days of not knowing.

This is resonating with me right now.

A recent season of planning and decision making has been thwarted and delayed and remains undecided, leaving me to answer when asked about our plans, 

"God knows."
And “I don’t know.”
And “God will provide.”


“No clue.”

It is easier for me to ponder and esteem this type of faith in the setting of a distant desert among tents I’m neither packing nor setting up. Camels I am not smelling.

To keep that kind of not knowing but believing obedience somewhere far away from my ‘need to know’ existence.

When this lack of knowledge settles in my living space and gallops across my daytimer, I become a tad bit grumpy.

With a smidge of pout.

Is my knowing a right?  A necessity?

A privilege?

I need to more carefully distinguish the difference.

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.”

I must remember who I am.

“And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.”

And who my God is.

“Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

Believing my Father, who knows me and mine so very well, has a definitive plan.

My not knowing is allowing me to exercise a very particular faith muscle.

Building strength where fitness had waned.

Developing brawn I might need in the very near future.

You know.

To load the camels.

(scripture references in italics from Hebrews 11: 8,13,16b and Genesis 12:1b)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Love Story by Cheryl Money Cash

Once Upon a Time

--I met a guy who was crazy passionate about living in Africa
--I found this mildly intriguing in an amusing sort of way
--when he asked for my number, I gave him the wrong one
--I did not hear from him for the rest of the year

Twice Upon a Time

--I saw the Africa guy from a distance and waved
--I dated other guys
--I wrote about the Africa guy in my journal
--one entry read: “Pray for Jeff Cash—money situation”

Twice Upon a Time Squared

--I traveled the West Coast over Christmas break and had the name “Jeff Cash” said to me (with glowing description to follow) on four different occasions in four different cities
--the last occurrence was in the home of his first cousin (hey Barb!) who showed me family pictures and said Jeff’s mom (hey Phyllis!) wanted to send a care package back to Texas with us if I would take it

Once Upon a Time

--it snowed and I didn’t meet Jeff’s Mom because she was ‘stuck on their mountain’
--I pondered what kind of life these interesting Northwesterners lived that they could actually employ the phrases, “I couldn’t make it. I was stuck on my mountain.”
--I wondered if I would ever hear from Jeff Cash again so I could tell him that I met his cousin

Thrice Upon a Time (or so)

--Jeff ventured to the University I attended to try and locate me
--I prayed for this Africa guy whose name would not leave my head (I figured it was the ‘Cash’ name that resonated)
--I thought about Africa and missions, intrigued and terrified

Once Upon a Time

--I happened to be at my apartment in the middle of the day
--at the exact same moment across town, Jeff ran into a mutual friend of ours who dialed my correct phone number so Jeff could leave me a message
--I answered the phone
--Jeff offered to show me pictures of Africa and tell me about his time there

Once Upon a Time

--we met and talked for hours
--he worked hard to recruit me to join an Africa team
--his ‘recruiting’ may have eventually involved roses, teddy bears and some kissing
--he was one heck of a recruiter

Once Upon a Time

--I got married and moved to Africa

And we lived….

Diligently. Laboriously. Passionately. Lovingly. Strenuously. Blessedly. Uncomfortably. Peacefully. Combatant-ly.  Hilariously. Adoringly. Thankfully.

Happily Ever After.